Time to end dispute over E911
Hopefully the cards played by the Yazoo County Board of Supervisors Monday will end talk of the city breaking off and establishing its own E911 service.
Some of Yazoo City’s leadership seems bound and determined to discontinue the E911 interlocal agreement with the county, but it’s a terrible idea that would prove costly to all Yazooans.
County and city taxpayers would likely pay more as the city’s $180,000 contribution would be lost. City taxpayers would likely pay more because it’s hard to see how the city could operate its own E911 service for less than the $15,000 a month it currently pays. The city would be forced to purchase equipment and pay salaries, and they have discovered lately that radio equipment isn’t cheap.
I suppose if I were strictly interested in selling newspapers it wouldn’t bother me if this little feud went on forever. Many readers have enjoyed reading about these antics and having a laugh at the expense of some of our elected officials.
But considering that I live, work and pay taxes in Yazoo County, I have a lot more at stake in the matter than selling a few extra newspapers. Times are hard enough without an unnecessary tax increase.
What’s worse is the possibility of problems with the 911 service that would at least temporarily be likely to occur during the transition. You don’t want any technical difficulties when you’re calling in a heart attack or reporting that your house is on fire.
The question I’m most often asked about this dispute is why some city officials seem so dead set on such a seemingly irrational course. I am not a mind reader, but I suspect they’re still sore about the county refusing to pay as much for the rubbish pit as the city wanted, and they’re looking to make up for the difference by paying less for E911.
If that’s the case, it’s time to move on. The Board of Supervisors refusing to pay more than the operational cost of the rubbish pit was exactly what the taxpayers they serve would want them to do. City leaders should have never budgeted the county’s contribution without holding discussions with them on the matter first.
The Board of Supervisors may have brought the matter to a close Monday by attaching the county’s interlocal agreement with the city to collect taxes to the E911 agreement. The city will definitely spend more money collecting its own taxes, handling tax sales and handling delinquent collections, and I’d be willing to bet the staff at City Hall wouldn’t welcome all the extra headaches that would come along with it.
It’s time for this dispute to come to an end. Ward 4 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. and Mayor McArthur Straughter made an effort to do just that in the last city meeting, but they were in the minority. Hopefully at least one alderman will have a change of heart when the issue is revisited.
Yazoo County would be much better served if city and county officials had an open line of communication and made every effort to work together to best serve Yazoo City and Yazoo County. Nothing good can come from the two boards having an adversarial relationship.
The best way they can work together and save taxpayers money is to eliminate the duplication of services whenever possible. Interlocal agreements like E911 and tax collection exist for a good reason.
If anything the city and county need to be finding more ways to work together instead of talking about breaking apart.